This section contains information on the background about technology accessibility, definitions of key terms and concepts, and the big picture.
Technology is used for most of the things people do every day: communicating with others, finding out what’s going on, publishing and reading, watching videos, listening to music, selling and buying, going to school… and even more. Most people don’t think much about how they interact with technology, but if it isn’t designed properly many people with different kinds of disabilities can’t do the things listed above or find it needlessly difficult. Because of those barriers, laws like the ADA have been enacted requiring equal access to the same things that people without disabilities take for granted. Just like legal requirements for ramps, elevators, and braille elevator buttons, these laws require websites, digital publications, software, videos and other technologies to be accessible.
Beyond the law, it doesn’t make sense to exclude people with disabilities from the reach of technology. It’s estimated that people with disabilities comprise 15% of the population. Businesses reach more customers, schools include more students, and governments meet the needs of more citizens when technology is designed to be accessible.
Go to Accessible Technology
Assistive technology is technology used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform or improve functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible.
Assistive technology can include mobility devices such as walkers and wheelchairs, as well as hardware, software, and peripherals that assist people with disabilities in accessing computers or other information technologies. Through the use of assistive technology people can keep working or regain employment. Assistive technology in the work place can range from a simple pointing device to a sophisticated screen reading program.
Go to Assistive Technology
Business Case for Technology Accessibility
In many organizations accessibility is still a new concept or it is not widely accepted. In order to justify a request for resources dedicated to the goal of accessibility, the accessibility champion needs to make the business case explaining why accessibility is in the best interest of the organization. Different organizations are motivated by aspects of the business case that are most relevant to their type of enterprise. For example, a private business may be most interested in fiscal benefits, while a public government entity may be more persuaded by legal requirements and risks, as well as success in meeting the agency’s mission.